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Leveraging User-Generated Content For Nonprofits

user-generated content for nonprofits
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As we know, nonprofits face unique challenges, but they also have opportunities. These amazing organizations are committed to social change and making the world a better place. As a result, it means they have to genuinely engage their audiences. The fact is that supporters aren’t getting anything tangible in return for their nonprofit support. No goods or services are exchanged for a donation, and therein lies a great opportunity.

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful approach for nonprofits to engage meaningfully with their audiences. Imagine a youth-service organization that needs community support for its programs. They may have fantastic volunteers who support their programs and the kids. Those supporters, volunteers, and donors can become powerful advocates when they share UGC with their followers on social media or when they, say, write a blog post about their support for an email blast.

Understanding user-generated content

For starters, let’s understand the meaning of user-generated content. This type of content can be anything from blog posts to social media images and videos. They are essential for nonprofits because supporters, not the nonprofits, create them. UGC content is powerful because it’s not developed by a paid marketing team. Instead, it’s content by supporters, which allows others who could support the organization to ‘see’ themselves doing the same thing.

UGC is provided by happy volunteers and donors who want to share their stories of social good. In turn, savvy nonprofits can repurpose those unique stories, videos, and images and create other content. Nonprofits can choose to embed some of the stories in email blasts, or they might send out heartfelt thanks on social media. Thanking donors and volunteers is always a great way to keep people engaged with the organization for giving their time and resources.

Key benefits of user-generated content for nonprofits

As we know, social media is all about authenticity and relationships. Nonprofits can benefit greatly from encouraging user-generated content to help spread the word about their organizations. Some of those approaches include the following.

1. Enhances authenticity and trust

Nonprofit teams are great, but as noted, they’re paid employees. UGC carries more heft and weight because someone is volunteering to do it, and supporters don’t have to do it. In turn, that resonates with current and potential donors and volunteers, helping to build trust for the nonprofit. The more others see ‘people like them’ supporting a cause, the more they want to support the cause if they have that same passion for the work.

2. Boosts engagement and community building

Another wonderful thing about UGC is that it encourages the community to get involved. So, when donors and supporters share their content, the chances increase that someone else will do the same. That increased engagement builds a stronger community while amplifying the cause.

3. Cost-effective content creation

As we know, most nonprofits operate with tight budgets. That’s another excellent reason why nonprofits should encourage their supporters to create user-generated content for the cause. Shared donor and volunteer stories and experiences are a great way to build a library of content that brings the cause front and center.

4. Provides diverse perspectives

Another fantastic benefit for nonprofits to encourage UGC is that it offers organizations more voices and perspectives. In other words, it’s a great opportunity to showcase the broad perspectives and impact of the cause. In turn, it’s an excellent way to draw in a wider audience of potential supporters.

5. Increases reach, awareness, and fundraising

Every piece of UGC a person shares reaches their network and helps nonprofits expand their visibility and build awareness beyond their current audience. It’s an organic way to increase the views and knowledge of the mission, and it will likely encourage new supporters and donors to take action.

Implementing a UGC strategy for nonprofits

So, now that you know the benefits of user-generated content, the next thing to know is how to implement it. Worry not. These tips and strategies will help any nonprofit to grow UGC to benefit their organization.

A. Encourage participation

First and foremost, it’s super important to make UGC sharing simple. So, provide guidelines to supporters and incentives for sharing stories. For example, you can have a volunteer appreciation day and ask people to share their experiences on social media. In turn, you can boost their posts and give shout-outs on your social platforms.

B. Create hashtags and campaigns

Something any nonprofit should do is to create branded hashtags for their social media and campaigns. Doing so allows the marketing team to streamline its collection of UGC to amplify and share. Moreover, campaign hashtags create an identity that helps users identify and rally behind it.

C. Utilize multiple platforms

Here’s another critical thing about user-generated content—don’t limit it to only one platform. So, don’t just share the content on social media. Instead, nonprofits should share it across multiple channels. For example, thread the stories and images through blogs, ads, and other resources.

D. Moderate and curate content

Make it a point to curate user-generated content to align with the mission and, more importantly, the organization’s values. By doing so, it helps to ensure appropriate content. As we know, it’s vital to ensure that any brand is protected from trolls and people looking to do it harm for no reason.

E. Acknowledge and reward contributors

Finally, and this goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, thank contributors. The fact is that no one has to do or share UGC, and they’re doing it as a gift to a cause they support. Recognizing people who take the time to do this encourages contributors to become or remain long-term supporters.

Building community with UGC

In reality, user-generated content for nonprofits isn’t about marketing. It’s about deepening relations and creating a thriving community. When that happens, nonprofits get much more committed supporters who want to do things together and work as teams to lead events and fundraising efforts or even serve on boards or advisory committees. In short, UGC is an excellent approach that allows any organization to create deep relationships for lasting change.

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